The vast majority of parents/More than three-quarters of parents (79%) believe first aid and lifesaving skills should be on the new school curriculum in Wales, reveals new research.
The survey, commissioned by the British Red Cross and BHF Cymru, supports their joint call with St Johns Cymru that first aid should be a compulsory element of the school curriculum from 2022, with all primary and secondary pupils learning it throughout their school life.
Parents surveyed believe that it’s more important for school children to learn first aid and life-saving skills at school than it is to learn about puberty, physical education, diet and nutrition and substance and alcohol abuse.
In an accompanying survey of teachers, 34 out of 35 teachers agreed that first aid and life-saving skills should be part of the curriculum for Wales.
A new curriculum will be introduced to schools in Wales from 2022 and the Welsh Government is inviting members of the public to have their say on what should be included. The Red Cross, BHF Cymru and St John Cymru want parents, teachers and children to add their voices to the campaign by contributing to the consultation via an easy-to-use webpage. A contribution of just a few minutes could help create a generation of life-savers
The charities feel the current proposals do not go far enough; first aid and life-saving skills are only mentioned as a suggested topic to be taught as part of the new curriculum. They are calling on the Welsh Government to ensure the new curriculum guarantees primary and secondary pupils to learn first aid and life-saving skills throughout their school life.
First aid education is vital skill for children and young people. When parents were asked about their children’s knowledge of first aid and life-saving skills (such as knowing how to do CPR, or what to do if someone is bleeding heavily), 59% of the children were described by their parents as having “very poor” or “fairly poor” knowledge of first aid.
Dafydd Beech, Education Manager for the British Red Cross in Wales said: “The new school curriculum in Wales is a once in a generation chance for us to create a nation of life savers.
“We teach thousands of young people every year, but we know that there are many, many more who lack the basic skills, knowledge and confidence to step in and save a life.
“Parents and teachers want to see first aid taught in schools, so we urge as many people as possible to support our campaign.”
Adam Fletcher, Head of BHF Cymru, said: “Lifesaving skills are essential and easy to build in to other lessons. We believe all secondary school children should be given the opportunity to learn lifesaving skills to significantly improve survival rates and to avoid inequalities between communities by ensuring there are lifesavers in every street and every workplace.
“Just an hour of learning lifesaving skills could make a real difference. Hundreds more lives could be saved across Wales each year.”
Rebecca Turner, Head Teacher of Ysgol Acrefair school near Wrexham, said “I think it is a really important life skill. First aid is about teaching children to be resilient and responsible.”
Dafydd Beech continues :“The latest poll demonstrates the urgent need to increase the number of people with first aid skills in Wales but also shows that parents, teachers and pupils are very much in favour of ensuring first aid is included on the curriculum.”
“We are working with our partners and calling on members of the public to support our campaign by sharing feedback via our website. We hope this persuades the Welsh Government to ensure the next generation are a generation of life-savers.”
Suzy Davies, AM for South Wales West said: “I have long campaigned that the Welsh Government should include first aid on the curriculum. Learning first aid is an essential skill as nothing is more important than being able to save someone’s life in an emergency. The only way we can ensure that all children and young people get the opportunity to learn is by including it on the curriculum.”
To find out more about the plans for first aid in the new curriculum, and to leave feedback for the Welsh Government, please visit https://www.redcross.org.uk/welsh-schools